Transport Properties of Planetary Cores

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Physics and Astronomy


This project looks to investigate transport properties of materials at high pressure and high temperature conditions, as found in planetary interiors. The diamond anvil cell is being used to reach high pressure conditions in the lab, alongside laser heating to reach high temperatures. Knowledge of the thermal and electrical transport properties of materials at extreme conditions is important in understanding planetary evolution and dynamics. More experimental work is required to further constrain these properties, which this project seeks to develop.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509644/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1861836 Studentship EP/N509644/1 01/10/2016 31/03/2020 Hannah Bartlett
Title Dark Hydrogen 
Description My supervisor and I performed an experiment which was recorded to be shown as part of a segment on dark hydrogen in Jupiter, filmed for a programme called Space's Deepest Secrets (Discovery Channel) aired in 2017. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact The programme was aired on the Discovery Channel, reaching a large number of viewers. 
Description I have performed all the experimental work necessary to complete my thesis, which is currently in progress. I have been studying the behaviour of sulphur on the application of high pressure and high temperature, looking at the conditions where the structure of sulphur changes from one structure to another, particularly looking at the melting curve. I have learned new complex techniques for measuring properties of materials held at high pressure including the use of optical techniques, where lasers are used to probe the sample properties, and x-ray techniques, which can be used to determine the positions of atoms in the sample material. I have extended the sulphur melting curve to higher pressures than had previously been studied, and performed an extensive survey on the stability regions of the solid crystalline phases of sulphur. Optical measurements have also been used to examine the properties of the liquid under high pressure, which has not been done previously in any detail.
Exploitation Route I expect this research to encourage further experimental and computational studies of sulphur, by others who are interested in the field of high pressure. Of course there are interesting remaining questions, and already there is interest in sulphur in other research groups in the field.
Sectors Education,Environment,Other

Description Laser Heating at GRC, Ehime, Japan 
Organisation Ehime University
Country Japan 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution My supervisor and I travelled out to Japan with samples and diamond anvil cells to use in the laser heating system at the Geodynamics Research Center. We also took some equipment including a supercontinuum, an oscilloscope and photodiodes to make measurements of the sample at pressure. We helped to perform the experiments and made measurements using the equipment there and our own provided equipment.
Collaborator Contribution Our partners in Ehime had a CO2 laser system used for heating samples enclosed in the diamond anvil celll. Their equipment and expertise were used to perform the measurements and to analyse some of the data collected.
Impact Work performed during this collaboration is to be included in my thesis, and in a paper currently in progress.
Start Year 2017
Description Science Event for Children 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I and a team of PhD students delivered a hands on workshop to children at a local library. There were a number of stations for the children to circulate round, with PhD students running the activities and explaining the physics concepts in an appropriate way. Around 15 children attended the event with their parents and were able to take away some of the products made.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018